This article is more than 1 year old

LOHAN's final test flight moniker: The people must decide

Acronym tomfoolery, with a RockBLOCK Iridium satellite comms unit at stake

Poll As the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team prepares for a forthcoming final test flight, we've put together the poll which will decide which talented reader walks away with a RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium satellite comms unit, courtesy of our chums at Rock Seven.

The RockBLOCK Mk2

The RockBLOCK "allows you to send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth with a clear view of the sky" via Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD), offering the possibility of easily integrating two-way communications into your tech project.

We use one hooked up to a Arduino Mini Pro as part of the "Big Red Abort Switch To Release Aerial Payload" (BRASTRAP) doomsday system, which if required triggers an emergency balloon cut-down at the behest of a short message sent to the RockBLOCK from a ground station.

In the spirit of BRASTRAP and other preposterous LOHAN acronyms, we invited suggestions for a suitable title for our last mission before the big event. The flight will involve our Stateside allies at Edge Research Laboratory dispatching a Vulture 2 spaceplane avionics rig to the stratosphere for the second time.

One of objectives is to check again how the servos and batteries handle to cold at altitude, but on this occasion we'll also be running the 900MHz ultra long range radio, by which Pixhawk brain surgeon Andrew Tridgell will communicate live with the autopilot from the comfort of his sofa in Oz.

It's exciting, cutting-edge stuff, and deserves a snappy moniker. LOHAN regulars will recall that Edge Research cheekily dubbed the first avionics test flight "LESTER" (LOHAN Experiment: Stratospheric Test of Energy Reserves), and it's a tip of the hat to Mike Druett for coming up with "More Offplanet LOHAN Experiment: Stratospheric Test of Energy Reserves", or "MOLESTER". Nicely done, sir.

Sadly, this and other smutronyms have been disqualified under the "unsuitable for a family publication such as this" rule, which also encompasses the following gems:

  • HARLOT - High Altitude Radio LOHAN Operational Test - x 7
  • LUBE - LOHAN's Ultimate Balloon Experiment - Martin Budden
  • TITSUP - Total Integration Test of System Uninterruptable Power - I am Spartacus
  • TITILLATE LOHAN - This Is The Incredibly Late & Last Airborne Test & Evaluation of LOHAN - JoniPelham

Other submissions worthy of mention are:

  • ACRONYM - Advanced Cosmic Remote Operation, Not Yet Misogynist - Zbig
  • ATTA B-BOY! - Another Test Taken Aloft, Because Bureaucrats are Ornery Yutzes! - Captain DaFt
  • FFS - Final Flight Shakedown - Barely registers
  • FUCKFAA - Final Use of Complicated Keywords before Flying an Awsome Airplane - Knewbie
  • YAWN - Yet Another Witty Name - deshepherd

There's more of this tomfoolery here and here, but let's proceed to the main event. The winner of the public vote will get either the RockBLOCK Mk2 - with the built-in antenna or SMA connector to hook up their own external antenna - or the RockBLOCK+, in an IP68 enclosure. We raise the traditional pint to Rock Seven for providing the prize. Onwards and upwards...

JavaScript Disabled

Please Enable JavaScript to use this feature.

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator, sponsored by...

  • EXASOL logo
  • Pulse_Eight
  • SecQuest logo
  • Lucidica logo
  • NXT logo

...and with the invaluable support of...

  • Edge Research Laboratory logo
  • Space Graphic Solutions logo
  • 3D Robotics logo
  • 3T RPD logo
  • University of Southampton logo
  • Applied Vacuum Engineering logo
  • Escher Technologies
  • Flashpoint Fireworks logo
  • HAB Supplies logo
  • Rock 7 logo
  • Random Engineering logo

More from the lovely LOHAN:

  • You can find full LOHAN coverage right here.
  • If you're new to LOHAN, seek out our mission summary for enlightenment.
  • There are photos our our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane here, and detailed structural plans here.
  • For your further viewing pleasure, we have all our photographic material stored on Flickr.
  • Our LOHAN and Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) videos live on YouTube.
  • We sometimes indulge in light consensual tweeting, as you can see here.

More about

More about

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like